“It’s real mashed potatoes!”…”I’m going back for seconds!”
The CLC Café has officially opened, and CLC residents of San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC) are enjoying a new, enhanced dining experience.
“It’s much better than eating with a tray up in my room,” said CLC resident Susan Chaffee. “Here I get a choice. I don’t waste food or overeat, it’s more relaxing here, and I get to mingle with the people on the ground floor!”
“I like the portion sizes; there’s less waste,” commented Yvonne, wife of resident Raphael “Ralph” Haley, who sat by her husband as he finished lunch at the CLC Café. Haley said that he likes the variety and choices.
“As part of the ongoing VA initiative toward patient centered care and cultural transformation, we received a VA grant which includes funding to refurbish the CLC dining area, including upgrades in flooring, lighting, cabinetry, and window treatments,” said SFVAMC’s Chief of Nutrition & Food Service Karen Arnold, MA, RD. “We were able to add a buffet steam table and servers so that CLC residents now have more food choices, and a relaxing environment with more of a restaurant feel.”
To add to the “restaurant” feel, table seating is open, not assigned. All meals have first and second seatings, much the same as is done in fine restaurants or on cruise ships—and residents may select which seating suits them best.
“One resident shared with me that he likes sitting wherever he wants and with whomever he wants,” said Arnold.
The CLC Café also offers the option of family members or guests eating with their CLC resident. Simply purchase a meal ticket (breakfast, $5.50; lunch or dinner, $10.50) at the Agent Cashier, Bldg. 2, Room 63 in advance and present to the Café attendant. On weekends meal tickets may be purchased with exact change at Nutrition & Food Service, Bldg. 203, Room BB-2. “This includes the entire meal, drinks and desert,” said Arnold. “There are no taxes or tipping!”
“The CLC has partnered with Nutrition and Food Service for over a year now to create and launch the CLC Café,” said Candice Crider, RN, MSN, Chief Nurse, Geriatric, Palliative and Extended Care/Co-Director. “We are pleased to provide this new dining experience for all our CLC residents who have physician clearance to dine in the Café.”
CLC residents may choose one of three options for dining: Have a tray served to them in their room; have trays brought to them in the dining area upstairs; or come down to the new café dining room on the ground floor.
“Besides providing a more sociable, relaxed dining experience, we now offer extended hours for meals,” said Crider. “This has really added to patient satisfaction.” Breakfast is served 8 – 9:30 a.m.; lunch is 11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m; dinner is 4:45 – 6 p.m.
“The residents love it,” said food service worker Lina Chan. “They like being served and choosing what they will eat. They feel extra special because someone is serving them and paying attention to them.”
“One of our goals is to transform the entire CLC into a home-like environment,” said Crider. “Our residents and staff love the new look and feel of our CLC and the Café; and it’s a perfect example of our commitment to VA’s vision of providing patient-centered health care.”